Poem: HEARTSONG


March 1, 2016: I am honoured to be a guest artist at the Jewish and Muslim women’s study group where we are gathering for an eight-week course entitled Milk, Blood and Tears. My session is tears. After the group has studied some texts from both Torah and Koran and had discussion I am invited to present something about my process, my work and my reflections on grief.

I am nervous and feel raw exposing what I have uncovered in my private explorations.

This is what I share that day.

Legacy in Tone/Heartsong/The mass at the centre of my chest

SING – I AM STANDING WITH MY HANDS NEAR THE CENTRE OF MY CHEST AS IF HOLDING A BALL, THE WORLD.
IMPROVISING VOCALLY FROM THIS PHYSICALITY. THE SOUND IS UNSURE, RAW, CREEPING IN, A WAIL.

The sound pours forth from the centre of my chest,
From my heart
which is filled with fissures.

THIS HEART has broken so many times
in so many ways.
Day after day,
grieving is just part of the way I walk…AND SING.
Grieving is part of my HEARTSONG.
So I often wonder, was it always this way?
Were the tears implanted in my DNA long before there ever was the thought of me?
And when I did finally come into this world,
was the cry I made
already REPLETE WITH GRIEF,
brimming with the sorrows of my ancestors?
A LEGACY IN TONE.

Recently, upon deeper inquiry,
I realized that this sadness had taken up long-term residence
in the centre of my CHEST.
It had become a DEAR COMPANION
treasured as a stuffed bear.

But I am a singer and this is my quandary,
for sound to flow with EASE,
nothing can be held,
all habitual grip relinquished.

AND SO I LET GO, OR I TRY ANYWAYS.
There is a free fall as I loosen my grip
on this mass with which I have identified for so long.

I am in a FREE FALL OF NOT KNOWING.
What might I be without this dear companion?
I surrender more and I fall further.
But now the mass APPEARS different.
It feels like the whole universe spinning in my chest,
Rotating as it should, in constant change and motion.,
Neither fixed nor fossilized.

And I embrace the sound that comes now
Flowing and full of breath.
I embrace this sound
while simultaneously letting it go.

These tones: Sing EL MALEH FIRST LINE
These tones: Sing ESAH EINAI
These tones will always be
part of my song.
They will weave freely with all the other, (EVEN JOY)
threads in the fabric of sound
that is me.

Now I am practicing calling to my heart
Sing: OPEN THE DOOR – improvise out.


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